The retirement announcement Friday by Rep. Norm Dicks opens up some intriguing opportunities for Virginia Rep. James P. Moran Jr., who is now mulling whether to run for the top Democratic slot on the House Appropriations Committee.

With Dicks (Wash), the current ranking Democrat on the spending panel, revealing that he won’t run for re-election, the lawmakers below him on the committee have already begun jockeying for position. Reps. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) and Nita Lowey (N.Y.), third and fourth on the panel roster, respectively, are reportedly gearing up to run for the post in the next Congress.

Moran is currently seventh in seniority, meaning that he would have to vault over several members to win the top job. That makes him a longshot if he does decide to run.

Austin Durrer, Moran’s chief of staff, said Friday that Dicks was “irreplaceable.”

“It’s a tall order to find the right person to fill Norm’s shoes, but Mr. Moran is going to give it serious consideration,” Durrer said

Even if he can’t take his party’s top post on the full committee, Moran could have a shot at another desirable gavel — that of the Defense subcommittee.

Moran is currently third on the subcommittee roster, behind only Dicks and Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), though any member above him on the full committee list could try to trump the Virginian. But few lawmakers can claim to have a bigger stake in the subcommittee’s work, given that the Pentagon sits in Moran’s district.